Ringier Switzerland and TUI Suisse to establish joint travel portal «etrips.ch»

Ringier, the largest media enterprise in Switzerland, and TUI Suisse, a subsidiary of Europe's leading travel group, are establishing a 50/50 joint venture in the name of etrips AG. etrips.ch is an online booking platform for beach, family, and club holidays, air travel, hotels, car rentals, cruises, city and other individual travel around the world.

Travelers are increasingly booking their holidays online. According to industry estimates, online travel in Switzerland is a CHF 2 to 3 billion business and trending sharply upward.

Smart searching and booking in Switzerland
Customers in Switzerland will have a new, versatile and easy-to-use travel portal. The media enterprise Ringier Switzerland and the travel company TUI Suisse will establish – subject to official approval – a 50/50 joint venture (JV) in the name of etrips AG. It will be the first operator-independent portal in Switzerland with state-of-the-art searching and booking technology.

Starting immediately a full range of travel and vacation services can be booked easily and conveniently on the website www.etrips.ch: beach holidays, last-minute vacations, city trips, air travel, hotels, car rentals, cruises, as well as individual and adventure travel.

In addition to TUI, 1-2-FLY, and Vögele Reisen, travel products of other well-known operators, such as Bentour Swiss, FTI, ITS Coop, Hotelplan, and Helvetic Tours as well as cruises arranged by e-hoi AG, will also be offered in Swiss francs allowing customers to benefit from the most extensive range of air travel departing from Switzerland (Basel-Mulhouse, Bern, Geneva, Zurich) and the neighboring countries. The travel portal operates under Swiss law and is a member of the Guarantee Fund of the Swiss travel industry. Its principal place of business is Zurich.

Holiday fun right from the start – iPhone app and service included
The new travel portal is designed to accommodate a wide variety of customer needs. It is based on the latest technology, it is user-friendly and prices are updated daily. Arrangements and prices of all products can be compared directly. The website is primarily intended for customers looking for travel at their convenience and who wish to book 24/7. The travel professionals at the service center are available during the day for questions regarding an online booking.

Dream vacations can by searched and booked online at any time, even on the road, with the etrips.ch vacation search app. The app offers access to more than 500,000 beach holiday and last-minute arrangements with one-on-one price comparison and at top prices.

Investing in the future of the travel industry
With this latest commitment, Ringier Switzerland continues to consistently implement its strategy in the three segments core business, entertainment, and digital business and will expand its diverse portfolio by another attractive element. Marc Walder, CEO Ringier Switzerland and Germany, comments: “With this commitment in the online travel market, Ringier enters another major segment of the transaction-based Internet business.”

JV partner TUI Suisse (550 employees) is a subsidiary of the largest European travel group, which includes travel operator brands TUI Schöne Ferien, TUI FlexTravel, Vögele Reisen, 1-2-FLY, und Spinout SportTours. TUI markets the products of the leading club brands ROBINSON and MAGIC LIFE exclusively in Switzerland. The sales network comprises around 70 TUI-owned travel centers (TUI ReiseCenter/TUI Agence de voyages).

Martin Wittwer, CEO TUI Suisse about the new joint venture: “Launching and building up the online portal etrips.ch is an important pillar of our multi-channel distribution strategy, and in Ringier we have found an effective marketing partner.”

etrips.ch will be headed by Christine Reichardt (44) as Managing Director. She has been engaged in developing the new company since February 2011. Prior to her reassignment, she was Head of Distribution at TUI Suisse in charge of electronic and inside sales.

Ringier Switzerland COO Michael Voss (Chairman), Thomas Huwiler, Managing Director Digital Business Ringier, Martin Wittwer, CEO TUI Suisse, and Edgar Frefel, MD Finance & Controlling TUI Suisse will be on the Board of the new company.

Ringier Switzerland Communications